Rock 'n' Roll really is unbelievably trendy right now. You just have to look at the crowd gathering in the Dingwalls for this Sonic Mook sponsored showcase by five very different acts. Amongst the scruffy Shaggy-from-Scooby-Doo look-a-like student types that come as standard with every indie/punk gig, there are also plenty of official dedicated followers of fashion that hang about near the bar, as far away as possible from the 'dirty common people' that stand in the pit eagerly awaiting the first band.

Take a closer look at the sleeve of the recent 'Sonic Mook experiment 2' compilation, however, and it's not too hard to see why this show has attracted the fashion snobs. It's pages are full of bored looking models, done up to look like the perfect clichés of what rock 'n' roll and electroclash fans should look like, with arty statements like 'Sex and Death' written all over their clothes. . It's then that you see what Sonic Mook Experiment is for. It is to let students and fashionables alike to feel that they're being really trendy by being 'into' underground music before the masses have picked up on it. The sad truth of the matter is that the majority of the masses have picked up on it, and that once those people have got into it, it is quite an overground thing. But, despite it's cringe-worthy trendiness, the Sonic Mook Experiment has allowed some really good bands to get the exposure they deserve. That doesn't mean that everything that they support, however, is good.

Take Joan of Ass, for example. Two girls in very, very stupid costumes take the stage. A mediocre electronic backing track starts up and the two girls start shouting in really bad American accents into their microphones. What they are shouting makes absolutely NO sense. In a nutshell, they are awful. The fashion people love them, though. Why? Like, don't you get it? It's art, man. It's supposed to be difficult for common people to understand. Only really intelligent people can fully comprehend their genius. Or perhaps it's only because 'common' people have fully functioning ears.

Terrashima are a lot better, thank God, but then again, even listening toSlipknot would be better than having to sit through Joan of Ass again. They put on a very good show, with the singer spilling beer all over the stage and breaking a microphone stand and the rest of the band playing with a lot of energy.Unfortunately, their sound is pretty muddy, and it's difficult tohear what their tunes actually sound like. They seem to play angry punk in a
Jesus Lizard style, which is no bad thing, but they do need to sort out their live sound a bit.

Miss Black America are on next. they are definitely the most commercial of tonight'sbands, and one of the most entertaining. Singer Seymour Glass kicks offtheir set by introducing the band as "Hi, we're Siouxsie and the Banshees",before the band surge into 'Infinite Chinese Box', easily one of their besttunes, and one of their weirdest riffs. Believe it or not, this band hastunes you can actually sing along to, and they play with an admirable amountof rage. Seymour Glass is a very engaging frontman, slagging off the Britishschool system before breaking into latest single 'Talk Hard', and BruceSpringsteen for cashing in on the heightened sense of patriotism in his country following September 11th. His angry flailing about the stage is certainly captivating. It's nice to see a band from Britain with a social conscience, especially with the tunes to reach a larger audience and alyrical style that can be understood by the majority of people without being too simple. Out of all the bands playing in this line-up, Miss Black America are definitely the band most likely to have any effect on an audience larger than the trendy elite.

Some Product, however, is aiming for a much smaller audience. She comes out from the back of the stage, dressed like she's just been sucked out of 1977 in a time-warp, and the stuff that she does is basically punk rock poetry. It's not entirely my cup of tea, but it is quite entertaining, and her showis the only one that includes some audience participation. The trouble is her stuff sounds like it needs a full backing band to work, which is shown by how much better it sounds when she brings out a bloke to do some human beatbox drums to accompany one of her songs. Still about a hundred times better than Joan of Ass, though.

The Liars finally take the stage between half ten and eleven, and, as a result, as I have to get back to Maidstone I miss the end of their set. From what I do see though, the Liars are a really good and very original band. Their sound is kind of Fugazi doing funk with Johnny Rotten on vocals, plus some weird electronic noises,and a bit of Sonic Youth. Oh, and very weird song and album titles (their album's called 'They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top'. I rest my case). Australian vocalist Angus Andrew looks like a stereotypical redneck, wearing a T-shirt that's way too small for him, a dirty cap on sideways, and a thin bum-fluff 'tasche. He certainly does not look like he should be fronting an art-punk band, but that's part of the Liars appeal. They're not just another art punk band. They've got their own sound and look. Luckily, the sound they've got is a good one.













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Commenting On: London Dingwalls, 7/8/2002 - Sonic Mook Showcase 2








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